Church records are also among the most important records you’ll find when doing foreign research. Because most foreign countries had an established state religion, church records were essentially the countries’ official record-keeping system prior to civil registration.
They’re usually available on microfilm up to the date where the country’s civil registration starts. Church records often begin in the 1500’s to 1600’s, depending on the country, and give information such as baptism, marriage and burial dates, parents’ names, godparents, etc.
Extracted Church Records For England and Scotland
Baptism and marriage entries from the Parish Registers of the Church of England and the Old Parochial Registers of the main Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) have been extracted by the Church’s name extraction program and are listed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) online at FamilySearch.org. This is a great timesaver if you’re researching in these two countries.